Coughlan relishing rel­e­ga­tion dog­fight

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Dany Rob­son

GRA­HAM Coughlan says his Bris­tol Rovers side are en­joy­ing the fight as they bat­tle against rel­e­ga­tion, fol­low­ing their goal­less draw at Ac­cring­ton Stan­ley.

Rovers are now un­beaten in five league games – with three wins in that time – and are a point above the bot­tom four.

Their on-loan Brent­ford keeper Jack Bonham was star man as he pulled off a string of saves to keep out the Reds, deny­ing Luke Arm­strong, on his de­but, with a su­perb near post save in the first half.

The Pi­rates keeper also pushed away a Jor­dan Clark strike from a tight an­gle and twice de­nied Billy Kee in the sec­ond half.

It wasn’t all Stan­ley and it also needed a mag­nif­i­cent save from keeper Jonny Maxted to deny Liam Ser­combe the win­ning goal with the last kick of the game.

“It was a bat­tle in the con­di­tions with the swirling wind and rain,” said Gough­lan. “It’s a point and an­other clean sheet and you have to look at the pos­i­tives.

“If we had had a lit­tle more qual­ity we might have won the game, but we could also have lost it with some naive de­ci­sion mak­ing.

“We showed great pride and great pas­sion, but we did look like a team who hadn’t played for 10 days, we were a bit ring rusty. We are dis­ap­pointed we haven’t won but it is a good lit­tle pe­riod for us.”

After chal­leng­ing for the pro­mo­tion spots ear­lier in the sea­son, John Cole­man’s side have slipped to 14th with six de­feats in their last nine league games but the point could prove cru­cial.

“We were out­stand­ing in the sec­ond half,” said Cole­man. “We started the first half brightly, then we got a bit sloppy and they counter at­tacked on us a cou­ple of times.

“In the sec­ond half, against the wind in hor­ren­dous con­di­tions, they haven’t laid a glove on us and we have kicked on. “It would not only have been un­just but day­light rob­bery if the free-kick had gone in in the fi­nal minute.

“They came with a game-plan, they came for a draw and a win would have been a bonus for them.

“If we play like that be­tween now and the end of the sea­son we won’t have any prob­lems.

“It was good to keep a clean sheet, it was just a shame we couldn’t put the ball in the net at the other end.”

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